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Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nomination of Judge Robert Wilkins for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The committee voted 10-8 along party lines . . .
AP: Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s nominees to lead an influential federal court and a housing agency on Thursday, despite Democratic warnings of a return to last summer’s partisan brawl over who wields power in the Senate.
AP: Republicans accused Democrats of trying to turn an influential federal court into a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama’s policies as a showdown approached over Senate confirmation for a nominee to that court.
National Review: While the Left tries to make President Obama’s D.C. Circuit appointments be about, in Nan Aron’s words, “stresses on the D.C. Circuit,” “the importance of its legal mission,” and constitutional appointment powers, as Carrie argued yesterday, they’re actually about “facilitat[ing] the president’s aggressive political agenda.”
Blog of the Legal Times: The judicial hopefuls want to replace Judge Kathryn Oberly after she steps down Dec. 15. The local group that vets judicial applicants, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission, will recommend three lawyers to the White House.
Milwaukee Sentinel Journal: The state Supreme Court would elect its chief justice and drop the 124-year-old practice of awarding that post by seniority, under a constitutional amendment moving quickly through the Legislature.
National Review: And now they are gearing up to fight President Obama’s court-packing plan on the D.C. Circuit. In a letter sent to Senators this morning, a group of attorneys general . . . urged senators to “reject President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit, and to join your colleagues in allocating those judicial resources where they are needed by passing S.699, the ‘Court Efficiency Act of 2013.”
National Review: Florida is one of 13 states that use the so-called Missouri Plan to select state supreme-court justices. Consistent with national trends, that process has saddled Florida with a state supreme court that tends to put the agendas of left-leaning special-interest groups ahead of the rule of law.
Talking Point Memos: The Senate is likely to start voting this week on President Barack Obama’s nominees to serve on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, potentially sparking another war over rules and reform via the nuclear option unless Republicans back off their threat of a mass filibuster.
AP: Sen. Lindsey Graham threatened Monday to hold up all nominations for federal government positions until survivors of last year’s deadly attack on the diplomatic post in Libya appear before Congress.
National Review Bench Memos: Senator Cornyn has an op-ed on FoxNews.com urging Republicans to use the upcoming battle over the D.C. Circuit as a unifying event . . .
President Obama Designates Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith to Serve as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Whitehouse.gov: Today, President Obama announced that he has designated Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith to be the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
CBC.ca: Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in a bind. Earlier this month he named Justice Marc Nadon, 64, to the Supreme Court of Canada. Days later, Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati challenged the appointment and last week the Quebec government announced it too would contest Nadon’s eligibility
NJ Star Ledger: In a rare break in the ongoing war between Gov. Chris Christie and Senate Democrats over court appointments, the upper house’s judiciary committee today approved the Republican governor’s latest nominee to the state Supreme Court. Superior Court Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina faced dozens of sharp-edged questions from Democrats during a two-and-a-half hour hearing in Trenton, but was also praised for his serene demeanor.
Leslie Proll of the NAACP: Sen. Marco Rubio has blocked the nomination of William Thomas to Florida’s federal district court. Thomas is the first openly gay African-American nominee to any federal court. . . Twenty-five percent of the residents are African-American, giving the Eleventh Circuit the highest percentage of African Americans of any circuit court in the country. Although there are 12 judicial seats on the Eleventh Circuit, only one is held by an African American. Judge Charles Wilson, from Florida, was appointed by President Clinton in 1999.
National Review Bench Memos: Overall, there’s little evidence that judges selected by nonpartisan commissions are more qualified than those selected through direct election or other means.
Blog of the Legal Times: The government shutdown is delaying the judicial nominations process, postponing a confirmation hearing and a committee vote on one of President Obama’s picks for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
AP: The newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, said Friday that the confirmation process is “sort of broken,” and she isn’t sure how to fix a system that amounts to little more than theatrics at times.
Reuters: Two of the most important courts for resolving U.S. business disputes, Delaware’s Court of Chancery and its state Supreme Court, may be on the cusp of a dramatic turnover that could affect corporate cases for years to come.
S. District of Florida Blog: Congratulations to Judge Rosenbaum, who is being vetted for Judge Barkett’s seat on the 11th Circuit. Judge Barkett was honored Friday night at a huge (and lovely) event, and the buzz at the party was about Judge Rosenbaum moving up to the appellate bench.
Washington Times: Last week the SenateJudiciary Committee approved the nomination of Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That party-line vote followed the committee’s hearing earlier this month on District Judge Robert Wilkins‘ nomination to the D.C. Circuit, the committee’s party-line vote in favor of Patty Millett’s nomination in August, and the Senate’s confirmation of the D.C. Circuit’s newest judge, Sri Srinivasan, in May. If this sounds like an unusual flurry of activity for one tiny court, that’s because President Obama has made tilting the court’s political balance a high priority for his second term.
McClatchyDC: Stiffening political headwinds could complicate the nomination of at-large Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee to the federal bench, amid fresh questions about her judicial decision-making.
Salt Lake Tribune: A hockey stick, a horror flick and a prank don’t often play into confirmation hearings for federal appellate nominees, but all three were part of Utah Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Carolyn McHugh’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Boston Globe: Addressing long-term vacancies in federal courthouses in Massachusetts, the White House is set to nominate three lawyers for judgeships, including the nomination of Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni to a US District Court post in Springfield. The White House is also recommending attorney Indira Talwani to sit on the US District Court in Boston, and has tapped Harvard Law School professor David Jeremiah Barron for appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
NY Times: The nomination of a gay black Miami judge to the federal bench will not move forward after Senator Marco Rubio announced he was withdrawing his support over concerns about the judge’s actions in two criminal cases.
Washington Blade: The Senate voted 64 to 35 on Tuesday to confirm President Obama’s nomination of lesbian attorney Elaine D. Kaplan for a 15-year term on the United States Court of Federal Claims.
NBC: By a unanimous vote, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nation’s first openly gay federal circuit judge. The vote was 98-0 to approve Todd Hughes, previously a Department of Justice lawyer, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Blog of the Legal Times: President Barack Obama has made another aggressive move this term to fill long-standing federal court vacancies, simultaneously nominating four people to the district court in Arizona, where Republicans stood in the way of confirmations last year.
LifeNews: The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved pro-abortion Cornelia Pillard, a law professor President Barack Obama selected for an appointment to the most important appeals court in the nation.
LifeNews: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this week on President Obama’s nomination of Cornelia Pillard to the court that many consider the second-most powerful and important in the land, the Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit. Of President Obama’s judicial nominees who have exhibited hostility towards unborn children, perhaps none is as flagrant, or as out-of-touch, as Cornelia Pillard.
KPHO.com: The bill co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Justin Pierce of Mesa increased the minimum number of nominees for each appellate court vacancy to five from the current constitutional requirement of three. | Dobson v. State of Arizona
Blog of the Legal Times: By the time Robert Wilkins had his confirmation hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, even the senators had grown weary of the political fight over President Barack Obama’s three simultaneous nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Star Telegram: Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht was named new chief of the state’s highest civil court Tuesday, pleasing conservative leaders but troubling a watchdog group that has criticized the Republican over his record and alleged ethics violations.
Southern District of Florida Blog: Georgia’s Republican U.S. senators have cut a deal with state Democrats that, if approved by the White House, would fill six judgeships on Atlanta’s federal appeals and district court benches, Georgia lawyers familiar with the nomination process have told the Daily Report.
LifeNews: President Barack Obama is pushing the nomination of Nina Pillard to the second most powerful court in the nation, the .S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Pillard is an abortion backer whose nomination will likely face opposition from conservative Republicans in the Senate.
Blog of the Legal Times: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins sailed through his Senate judicial confirmation process in 2010. Almost three years later, he’ll be back testifying on Capitol Hill next week as a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Kansas.com: The morning after the Kansas Senate approved Gov. Sam Brownback’s office attorney Caleb Stegall for a seat on the state Court of Appeals, a Washington-based conservative group ran a full-page ad in the Topeka newspaper thanking and congratulating all three.
NJ.com: State Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens may have been in line for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it wouldn’t have been a fair one leading to her reappointment, Gov. Chris Christie said today.
Ed Whelan at NRO: He [Ted Cruz] then asked Pillard whether “you were arguing that if a State decides to teach abstinence-only, that that decision by State and local officials in your judgment may well be unconstitutional and it is an appropriate role for a Federal court to strike down a State or local government’s decision to teach abstinence-only” (58:5-10). Pillard’s flat—and brazenly false—answer: “No, Senator Cruz.” (58:11)
The Hill: President Obama’s frequently rocky relationship with the judicial branch has emerged as a major obstacle to his second term goals.
National Review Bench Memos: Kansas governor Sam Brownback has nominated his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to fill an opening on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The Kansas City Star reports . . .
Atlanta J. Constitution: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
NJ.com: Gov. Chris Christie’s newest nominee to the state Supreme Court can expect to get a hearing in the state Senate, though no date has been set, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said today.
Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy: Earlier this summer, the Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Forum featured a cover story on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by Doug Kendall and Simon Lazarus of the Constitutional Accountability Center entitled “Broken Circuit.” As the sub-head promised, this article made the case that “A new breed of activism on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — for environmental cases second in importance only to the Supreme Court and the central venue for high-profile lawsuits — threatens decades of progress.”
FedSoc Blog: The president’s proponents hope that if he succeeds in staffing the court with enough judges of his own choosing, then he may not only preserve his regulatory agenda for the next three years, but perhaps even entrench a progressive regulatory zeitgeist in the court for years to come.
National Review Bench Memos: Away on the National Review cruise to Norway, I noted with interest that President Obama nominated to the Ninth Circuit two lawyers from the Munger, Tolles & Olson law firm, Michelle T. Friedland and John B. Owens. As this article notes, a previous Obama appointee to the Ninth Circuit, Paul J. Watford, was also at Munger, Tolles & Olson when he was nominated.
NJ.com: Gov. Chris Christie said today he will not renominate New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens because he expected legislative Democrats would have kept her in limbo or blocked her altogether. In a surprise move, Christie appointed Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina to replace Hoens.
Trial Insider: Idaho’s Republican Senator Mike Crapo “was not consulted on the decision and is not happy with the nomination,” said Judd Deere, Crapo’s spokesman. [update] Deere says both he and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, are “evaluating” how to proceed.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): Hell hath no fury like a lawyer scorned, or so it seems in Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is taking abuse for having the temerity to select a judicial nominee for a vacancy on the state’s Court of Appeals. According to the state bar association and its allies at the George Soros-funded Justice at Stake, Mr. Brownback should have to broadcast his shortlist of judicial nominees before he makes a selection.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate and the White House used the last day before the month-long summer congressional recess to move on a slate of judicial and U.S. Justice Department positions, including Stuart Delery to lead the DOJ Civil Division.
Topeka Capitol Journal: Nancy Moritz, a Kansas Supreme Court justice from Topeka, has been nominated by the Obama administration for a position on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. | Official Bio and list of opinions | Hat tip: How Appealing
Wall Street Journal: Senate Panel Splits on Judge Nominee
The Hill: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is planning to block a top executive nomination over concerns about how ObamaCare will apply to Capitol Hill.
AP: The Senate is ready to approve President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, a day after a nail-biting marathon vote frayed but kept intact the chamber’s recent bipartisan spirit toward nominations.
Carrie Severino at NRO Bench Memos: As I have written before, and Ed Whelan has documented in detail, President Obama’s ongoing effort to confirm three new judges to the D.C. Circuit is little more than a naked attempt to pack the Court with activists who will rubber stamp his unconstitutional administrative agenda. The Court already has the lowest caseload in the nation, and, if anything, trends show that their workload is decreasing.
Blog of the Legal Times: “I have concerns about your nomination,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. “The primary source we have are your academic writings, and those writings to me suggest that your views may well be considerably out of the mainstream.”
CNSNews: The Senate will consider the nomination of Cornelia Pillard, a vocal abortion advocate who said abstinence education was unconstitutional for violating “reproductive justice,” to serve as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a hearing.
Obama Judicial Pick Cornelia Pillard: Abortion Needed to “Free Women From Maternity” | Tony Perkins at LifeNews
Tony Perkins at LifeNews: A lot can happen between now and Congress’s August recess — and that’s exactly what conservatives should be concerned about. Senate Democrats seem to be banking on the fact that Americans are on vacation and not paying attention, because liberal leaders are trying to slip in a quiet confirmation hearing for Cornelia “Nina” Pillard.
WSJ (via Google): Republicans accuse Mr. Obama of trying to tilt the court in a liberal direction to obtain more favorable legal review of his administration’s policies. Democrats scoff at the charge, saying he isn’t adding new positions and instead wants to fill existing vacancies to get the court moving at full speed.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved Todd Hughes as a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as four other district court judge nominees.
The Hill: The Senate on Thursday voted 54-46 to confirm Tom Perez as secretary of Labor. It was a party-line vote, with no Republicans supporting President Obama’s nominee.
The Hill: He gained kudos and Democratic friends, but some believe he undercut Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and handed Reid a big win.
AP: The Senate voted by the slimmest margin Wednesday to end a filibuster against President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Labor Department, as this week’s agreement averting a poisonous partisan clash over nominations and the chamber’s rules barely survived its toughest test so far.
John Elwood at SCOTUS Blog: Newspapers are reporting that, as part of a tentative deal to preserve existing Senate filibuster rules, Senate Republicans have agreed to allow a vote on nominees to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and to the National Labor Relations Board.
The Hill: Obama picked Nancy Schiffer, a former associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO, and Kent Hirozawa, chief counsel to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, to be members of the labor board.
AP: A third federal appeals court has declared President Barack Obama’s recess appointments of three members of the National Labor Relations Board unconstitutional. | NLRB v. Enterprise Leasing Company Southeast
SCOTUS Blog: This week we are hosting an online symposium on National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, in which the Court will consider the constitutionality of the president’s recess appointments to the NLRB. Lyle summarized the issues in the case last week in a “Made simple” post.
AP: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says an agreement seems at hand that would resolve the chamber’s bitter impasse over stalled Obama administration nominations.
AP: The threat by majority Democrats to change Senate rules to make confirmation easier for some nominees could open up two cans of worms that could weaken the chamber’s minority party for years to come.